I finally started on the cabinet doors. Of the ten doors I need to build, four require face frames. So, I started with them first. I began by milling the quarter-sawn African Mahogany to 7/8” thickness and then ripped it to 1 ½” wide. I would like to have made the face frame a little wider but the cabinets are not that big and a larger face frame would have made the doors too small. I used my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig to join the parts of the frame. I have used a Kreg jig for building face frames for at least six years and I have always been pleased with the results. They are not the strongest joints but because the frames are also screwed to the cabinets there is very little stress on the joints. I also glued the joints to make them a little stronger. The kreg jig is much easier to use than making half laps and they are very accurate. For this project I ordered SS Kreg screws. The frames fit nicely and only one required a little scribing to fit snugly to the adjacent bulkhead.
I took a day to run some errands and also drop by the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. Though I don’t use the hobby shop often (I much prefer to use my own shop and equipment) they have some terrific equipment to include a beautiful spiral head planer and jointer. These machines are very accurate and are supposed to be the best equipment for machining delicate Bird’s Eye Maple. I also took some measurements of the raised panel shaper bit I would like to use to make the raised panels.
Today, I visited World Timber where I picked up the Bird’s Eye Maple I will use to make the raised panels. Matt and his gang always provide great help to me. I bought twice the required amount of wood as I wanted to get just what I wanted and I knew that I would be able to use the left over wood for other projects. The majority of the wood in the boat is African Mahogany with a little ash, however, the Bird's Eye Maple should really "pop" against the mahogany. The raised panels should add an elegant touch to the interior. I have made panel doors before but never solid wood raised panels. This should be an interesting project.
I also spent a little time today cutting some test bead and cove that I intend to incorporate around all the cabinet door openings.
Tomorrow I will start in earnest and with some luck I should have this project more or less accomplished in the next two weeks.
Today I worked on installing the bead around the inside opening of the face frames. I used a technique Larry Pardey shared with me. Not only is he a master craftsman he is also very clever. It turns out that this not only add an elegant touch to the cabinet doors but it also eliminates the need to mortise the hinges. I used a bead cutter on my router to make the bead. Then I ripped the bead strip about 1/4 thick on my tablesaw. I end up with a strip of mahogany (many strips actually) about 1/4" thick x 1" wide and so many inches long. The thickness of the bead (1/4" thick) matches the thickness of the folded butt hinge. Next, I cut a 45 degree bevel on both ends of the strip measured to fit into the inside edge of the face frame. I work this system around the face frame leaving the side that the hinges will be screwed to until later. The bead part of the strip is installed proud of the surface of the face frame as will the butt hinge. Done correctly, they line up and there is no requirement to mortise the hinge into the face frame. Simple and elegant.
The bead is not glued on. The bead is positioned and the miter cuts lock it in then it is secured with brass escutcheon pins. As I mentioned above, the last strip is installed when you position the door. The hinges are attached to the door frame first. Tomorrow, I will install the bead in the cabinet door openings that do not have face frames. I was pleased to be working on the cabinet doors but I am moving like pound water.
24 Mar 13
I've spent the last week working on the cabinet doors. I cut rails and stiles from African Mahogany a few days ago and cut the slots into them for the raised panels. Next, I milled the Birds Eye Maple for the panels. Then, I glued the panels up the day before yesterday and today I took them to the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. Jack Neuber is the manager there. He is also a retired Marine Corps Sergeant Major. Jack and I both served in infantry and reconnaissance units during our careers though we never served in the same unit at the same time -- he retired a number of years before I did. Anyway, Jack ran the maple panels through their spiral head planer (it is the only machine in the shop that must be run by the staff). The spiral head planer is a terrific machine. My planner uses "knife" blades and can literally tear out the birds eye. The Hobby Shop's spiral head cutting blades eliminates tear out which was a major concern of mine with such heavily figured wood.
I dry fitted the panels into the rails and stiles to see how they looked. They had not even been sanded. The bird's eye figuring should pop when varnished.
Jack Neuber is the manager of the Camp Lejeune Wood Hobby Shop. The shaper is behind us.
Next, I cut the panels to length and then ripped them to width to properly match the dimensions of the slots cut into the rails and stiles. Then, Jack set up the shaper (which is like a router table on steroids), taught me how to use it, and made sure I did not cut my hand off--its a wickedly powerful machine. The slots in the rails and stiles are cut deeper than the panel is wide so it "floats." This arrangement allows the wood panel to expand and contract with changing humidity and is essential for "framed" cabinet doors especial important for inset cabinet doors. If the panels don't have room to move they can jam the rails and stiles into the cabinet door opening. After cutting the raised panel profile into the Birds Eye Maple panels I dry fit them. They look great and I am very pleased.
Tomorrow I'll sand the panels and apply a sealing coat of varnish mixed 1:1 with mineral spirits. The day after I'll start assembly. By the end of next week I ought to have the first couple coats of varnish applied and have the doors hung in the boat.
I have been pushing hard for the but past week we have had family here so we slowed down a little but, we are still getting work completed. For example, my brother and sister helped me build the new saw horses for work on the mast even though I have not started that project. We also attached the cleats to the dinghy chocks though I did not take pictures. I'll add them later. Today my sister and I trimmed some remaining butyl rubber from under the bulwark blocks and then taped the deck to prepare for applying the kiwi grip non-skid paint. Tomorrow we sand the deck . . . I really know how to show family a good time.
Previous to their arrival I had been working on the cabinet doors. I finished the project though I still need to varnish them. That will have to wait till after the deck is painted. The last door to be installed was the sliding cabinet door. The doors were not hard to make and I documented the construction during the Jan-Mar 13 daily log plus you can find the project as a whole in the projects tab.
The sliding door was a little tricky. When I installed the fore and aft bulkhead that support the starboard side of the stove I had to calculate all the different requirements--width of staving, thickness of plywood, width of stove, room needed for door, etc, etc. I am pleased that the measurements worked out perfectly. I had about 1/8" of gap on each side of the door between the vertical flange on the stove and the staving that makes up the vertical face of the cabinet under the ash counter. I dadoed a 3/8" slot in the bottom of the door and a 1/4" slot in the top and glued hardwood "tongues" into those slots. Then, I dadoed corresponding slots in two 1 1/8"x 1" walnut cleats. I installed the cleats above and below the cut out for the cabinet door. The door slides great. Having a sliding door there eliminates the door from flying around when opening it in a seaway, provides more space, and is just more convenient to use. As I mentioned I still need to varnish and I also have to install the door knobs.
As soon as we completed painting the deck I turned immediately back to the cabinet doors. The task: varnish and hang them. This is a boring multistep project that is built around sanding . . . which I loath, but there is no way around it. I applied a single coat of varnish to the panels before I installed them to mask any varnish lines should the panels contract. I removed the doors and the hinge hardware. I taped off the panels to keep the joint from getting covered with multiple coats of varnish. The panels need to be able to float, expanding and contracting with changing humidity. I sanded the rails and styles with 150 grit and applied the first coat of Epifanes High Gloss Varnish per my usual protocol--first coat thinned 1:1 with mineral spirits. From that point on it was sand every day with 220 and apply another coat of varnish. I sand and varnish both sides at the same time supporting the doors on blocks under the panels. Second coat cut 25 percent. All subsequent coats are applied as unthinned varnish. I used a 2" Jen Poly foam brush on the rails and stiles. After five coats I removed the tape and then gave the varnish an additional 24 hours to cure. Then, I taped off the rails and styles and started varnishing the panels. Same protocol. I used a 3" foam brush on the back and on the wide raised panel part of the panel front. I cut down a 2" foam brush with scissors and used that to apply the varnish to the sloping part of the raised panel. The bird's eye figuring really "popped" with the varnish. Today I applied the fourth coat to the panels. Tomorrow I will apply the fifth coat then we will pull the tape and apply one last coat over the entire door. That will be the only coat that covers the panel joint. Then, we will rehang the door and declare victory. I'll install the knobs and latches later. I am very pleased with how the doors have turned out so far.
We love the amber color of the maple as it contrast beautifully with the mahogany rails and stiles. This photo was shot after three coats of varnish were applied to the maple.
Installing the doors was a pretty straight forward project without, thankfully, any surprises or difficulties. The doors look great. The photos don't really reflect the nice amber color of the maple. I am pleased. I have the door hardware but it has to be modified (of course) before I can install it. I will work on that project on the side.
I while back I resawed two planks of 8/4 juniper into 9/16" thick planks for the purpose of shelving. It's very light weight and if you only varnish one side the other side remains very aromatic. It is also bug repellent. I used strips of door skin ply and a hot glue gun to make the patterns. A very simple project. Eventually, we will varnish the top side and leave the underside bare. I have plenty left over to use for shelving under the forward double berth.
The base wood hobby shop will be closed over the Christmas holidays. I go there to use a couple of tools I don't have like a fantastic 25" wide spiral head planer and 14"jointer. But, what I needed this trip was to finish up the three small raised panel doors to match the other seven doors I made last spring. These doors fit in the face of the double berth and one under the forward cabin large cabinet doors. I had cut the rails and stiles last spring but did not slot them. So I spent one evening setting up my router table and slotting them in my shop. Then, I took some of the remaining Bird's Eye Maple, went to the base wood shop, and used their raised panel bit on the big shaper machine they have. The will sit as they are until we do the final varnishing of some trim work that has not been varnished. I'll glue them up then.
Bird's Eye Maple and African Mahogany raised panel door. This is just pushed togehter. I'll varnish the panels, insert and intall them into the frame, then varnish the frame.
I still had a little more work to do on the smallest cabinet door. All the doors are Bird's Eye Maple raised panel doors with African Mahogany Rails and Stiles. However, the panel for the smallest door was too small to run through the panel cutter. It might have got ripped out of my hands . . . dangerous stuff. Sure not worth losing a finger over. So, when I cut the panels for the other two slightly larger doors for the forward cabin I milled the panel for the small door to 1/4" thick thinking I would just leave that one door "shaker style." But, it kind of irritated me knowing that only one of nearly ten doors was different . . . because I could not make it the same as the others. Then, it occurred to me that I could cut a thin "raised panel profile," like a slice of raised panel and just glue it on to the flat surface of the 1/4" thick shaker panel. I couldn't do it exactly the same as the others without a lot of experimentation, time invested, and jig building. But, I thought I could get acceptable close with minimal time and effort. So, that's what I did. I think it turned out fine. I am satisfied. It's not located next to any of the other doors and if you are not sure what you are looking for, most people would never notice.
I made the panel on the left by gluing the raised panel profile onto the flat panel. I think it's hard to tel the difference unless you know what you are looking for.
Over the last couple of weeks, during Phase III varnishing, we applied six coats of varnish to both side of the last of the raised panels for the cabinet doors that will be installed in the forward cabin. Today, I glued and clamped them together. I'll test fit them in place, trimming them as necessary. I ordered the last of the butt hinges and when they arrive I'll install them. Once I am satisfied with the fit, I'll remove the doors, and varnish the rails and stiles. They will match the other doors--Bird's Eye maple raised panels and with African Mahogany rails and stiles.
Gluing up the last of the cabinet doors.
It was too cold today for bedding compound. I hauled the trailer full of scrap wood to the dump, watched some of the winter Olympics (a distracter that I simply am powerless to resist) and finally tore myself away this afternoon to start the installation of the last three doors. All three go in the forward cabin. I checked the fit of the doors, which I glued up a couple of days ago, and trimmed them just a little to ensure the appropriate clearances around the edges. I applied six coats of varnish to the panels before I glued up the rails and stiles. Once I was statisfied with the fit of the door in the opening, I installed the solid brass butt hinges and then cut a piece of cove strip to fit between the hinges and installed it in the door frame opening. Using the cove strip as a guide, I'll attach the hinges to the door opening and fit the bottom outside cove strips last. Once that is complete, I'll remove the doors, tape off the panel, apply six coats of varnish to the rails and stiles and reinstall them.
The doors are just sitting in there the opening for test fit. I hinges still need to be attched to the faceless frames. If you look closely you can see I also need to add the bottom outside edge cove strips as well.
I built a little plywood jig that I was able to clamp to the forward face of the double berth which held the door steady in the open position. I carefully marked for the screws, drilled, and installed them. I used the jig on the second, lower door, as well but did not need it on the third door as I was able to steady the door on the doubled berth seat box lid. The door openings are small but with two different right angle drill attachments I had no trouble drilling the holes. Next, I cut and installed the lower outside corner bead cove trim. There is still a little more work to do on them tomorrow but they are essentially installed and ready for removal and varnishing.
We pulled some more trim out of the boat to varnish. We completed it yesterday and I went to reinstall the forward cabin cabinet doors and was surprised to see that I failed to varnish the bead cove that surrounds the door opening. Ugghhh. The rest of the trim will be installed by tomorrow afternoon. I installed the cabinet door hardware. This is simple hardware with a turn knob. Overlay doors are easier to secure. Most of the hardware I have seen that provide solid latches and are brass cost about $40 each. These are $13. I like their simplicity. I will need to make new rotating tangs as they are steel but the bolt, nut, and knob are all brass. A simple inexpensive fix.
The knobs are brass and very simple to install.
Turning the knob rotates the tang behind the face frame and the door is secured. The knob, bolt, and nut are brass. The tank is steel and I will replace them with some brass ones later. Eventually, I cut the bolts to the nut.
I installed the cabinet doors in the forward cabin after numerous coats of varnish. I need to install some small catch chains to prevent the door from opening past 90 degrees. One of the nice things about high gloss varnish is that it reflects a lot of light and makes what would otherwise look dark kind of bright. Way back in the days of black and white when we started this project I thought I might varnish the interior with a less glossy rubbed effect varnish. In fact, the Epifanes rep I talked to even recommended it. He said it was so much easier to apply . . . just two to three coats of gloss then two coats of Rubbed Effect and you are done. He said that becuase it is less glossy it was more forgiving in application. So, I bought some and tested it on a sample. I did not like it. It was dull and flat and I knew right away it would suck the light right out of the boat. Despite the extra work, I have very happy with the high gloss. It makes me smile evertime I go below.
Two of the three small cabinet doors I installed. All the doors are now in place.
Building a Book Shelf and the Navigation Box
Once I returned home it took a few days to get remotivated for more boat work. We have had about six days of nothing but rain. Hot, humid, overcast, sticky weather. Not very inspiring. But, after a couple of days it was time to get going. I started off sorting out how to mount the sextant box and the navigation tool box. I decided to build the nav box out of african mahogany and build it so that it is hinged under the side deck over the chart table along side the sextant box. They will both be hinged so I also ordered some more brass hinges from White Chapel Hardware. They sell high quality hardware. The hinges are first rate--100 percent brass and they are relatively inexpensive. I also wanted to build another book case. I built it right out of the the pages of the Cost Conscious Cruiser by L&L Pardey, 1st Ed, 1999, pg 262. It's a simple but elegant design that promotes good airflow to reduce mildew and the design fits nicely with the interior design of the Far Reach. The plan is to install it on the port bulkhead above the foot of the double berth in the forward cabin.
I made the book case from a drawing in The Cost Conscious Cruiser.
The next task was to build the navigation box to hold the navigation tools . . . parallel rules, protractors, dividers, pencils, etc. On my previous boats, I kept these things in a drawer or on a little rack attached to the bulkhead near the chart table. I don't have any drawers on the far reach but, I would like to try and keep them out of view so the boat does not look cluttered. Unlike the book case, I glued this together with Tite Bond III. It took a lot of clamps. I used half laps to build a strong glue joint. I did not "float" the bottom panel. The wood is quarter sawn, well seasoned, and small dimensioned so I don't think wood movement will be an issue. But, I'll know soon enough and will, in due time, be able to see first hand if that was a good assumption. It will be mounted under the side deck above the chart table and then hinged to drop down for access to the contents.
I also decided to finish up the trim around the companionway ladder under the bridge deck. It took a couple of hours to lay out, mill, trim, radius, sand, and install. Satisfied with the way the trim fit, I removed them, numbered them, and took them to the garage to apply the first coat of varnish. We will apply the first three coats of varnish there. Then, for the final three to four coats, we will move them to a climate controlled room where there is very little dust. For now, we applied the first coat of Epifanes high gloss varnish in the normal manner--cut 50 percent with mineral sprits. We will varnish a little every day for the next few days between working on other tasks. By the time we get six or seven coats applied the hinges will have arrived and we can then install the nav box and trim and check them off the list.
I applied the first coat of Epifanes varnish cut 50 percent with mineral spirits.
19 Aug 14
With the navigation box properly varnished and an additional coat of varnish on the sextant box it was time to mount them under the side deck and over the chart table. It took some careful measuring and some head scratching to come up with a way to support the boxes. Once I had a plan, it went together pretty easily. I used solid brass butt hinges from White Chapel Hardware and brass woodpecker latches from Rockler. I repurposed the brass chain which left over from the anchor portlight keepers we installed last year. I took the top off the sextant box so that there is as much room as possible under the box for books. It also allows a little more airflow.
The nav bos is to the left and the sextant box to the right. Under the hinged top is the ice box.
The navigation tools are handy yet secure and out of the way.